For the love of Good Skin

It is quite well believed that the best cosmetic is great looking skin! Hence, we reckon that one should go deep into the skin-care products we use and lay utmost emphasis on the quality of what gets applied on our skin!

Though I love my basic make-up but I also truly appreciate natural beauty, I mean we would all love it if we could just step out more often in our no make-up look. For if the skin is glowing and radiating- who needs loads of make-up? Anyways, even if we do apply make-up often, there is still no missing on a regular skincare routine.

Up your confidence in your skin by upping the quality of products in your beauty closet.

Now accelerating focus on a brand we came across few days ago and got a chance to unravel more about… Sharing all from our chat with Zahara Gizelle Nedou, CEO, Zahara Skincare. Let me tell you the brand sure looks promising and I am thoroughly enjoying applying their refreshing Spring Scrub and before calling it a day, I love to apply their Walnut Oil on my face and body for some nourishment!

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Q: Tell us the story behind Zahara and what led to the coming up of the brand?
A: My English and Kashmiri grandmothers were my biggest influences, watching them every day make something out of pure recall of what their cultures of parents did-was for a 6 year old almost a miracle! At the age of 9, I already knew what Cleopatra did as a beauty regime and I would fill my bathtub with milk and roses and was very well aware that it would moisturize and lighten my skin! So, I grew up replicating and adding to what I knew about organic skincare. With my diverse family culture and all my travels and knowledge and love for organic skincare regime grew. However, it was not until recently that I decided to commercialize it.

Q: How has the response been so far?
A: Fantastic! I tested my products in Dubai when I first started making them and it was there where I realized what Zahara Skincare is actually capable of and what it can do as an organic skincare company. I came back to India with the same zest and it has been a positive if not a similar response like I had internationally. It is slower but very positive as the awareness of using or switching to an organic lifestyle is still in its initial stages in India. But we are growing as a brand on a daily basis and it’s becoming a really fun journey!
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Q: What is the uniqueness of Zahara products which sets it apart from the rest?
A: I do understand that each organic brand has a few things that sets them apart. At Zahara Skincare, we grow most of our ingredients and harvest them on family run farms across the valley and our very own orchards. We also pay detailed attention that everything is grown chemical-free and most importantly, we are reviving and modernizing traditional beauty regimes and recipes from the Middle-East as well as Kashmir. These are tried and tested methods from the past, which we re-introduce today!

Q: Tell us about the hot buys of Zahara and what makes them must try products?
A: Hot buys would be-
1. Shine Bright like a Diamond- It’s a glow pack with a history of hundreds of years of Kashmiri culture!
2. Spring Scrub- It’s a rose and oatmeal scrub with just the right amount to give you a scrub and a soft rosy glow!
3. The Bow-tox in the Bottle- This is a traditional Arab recipe for removing fine lines and shall plump your skin for that young look.
4. Our rare product “Mulberry Silk Worm Cocoons” that no one in the country has and we at Zahara skincare, have got a raging response for that.

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Q: One unhealthy beauty routine according to you which must be done away with right away?
A: I can sit here and list a million routines that we still practice in India which really aren’t very good for our health or bodies. But if I had to choose the worst according to me, then it would be the constant use of “Skin Bleaching Creams/Products”. Some cosmetic products, including skin-lightening creams contain high levels of mercury.

Mercury is primarily used in skin-lightening creams because it blocks the production of the skin pigment melanin. It can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and very young children.

Q: The healthy home beauty routine which must be a part of our routines?
A: First up, not many people are strict about their water intake, so- hydrate, hydrate and hydrate yourself! If you find it difficult to have plain water, add some lemon or mint or even fruit. Add whatever but have water! Most people don’t realize how water affects a human body.

About the beauty aspect of it, try to reduce the use of chemicals on your skin. Try applying organic turmeric with coconut oil on the face at least 2-3 times a week- it eradicates acne, any toxins or any form of infections that may start to begin on your skin and the coconut oil hydrates and lightens your skin.

Q: What are the future plans for the brand and where can one get their hands on Zahara products?
A: As for now, we take orders and are very efficient on both our social media platforms, i.e., Facebook and Instagram. Just “like us” on either of the pages and send us a message and we would guide you through your skin concerns and offer you a few of our products and BOOM within the next 24-48 hours, our jars of joy will be with you! We will be now available on various other platforms just for the comfort of our clients like Amazon, Scootsy, Sublime Factory and many more. We also plan to be available on ground across the country in many organic/multi-brand stores! And we are even available in Dubai, Oman and New York at selected stores.

 

Well, I can only sense goodness for the brand and being offering by the brand. Here is wishing them the very best, always! And I am almost running to try out their Shine Bright like a Diamond pack!
Best,
Sonali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unforgettable Hotel Experience in Bangkok

Confucius asserted, “Wheresoever you go – go with all your heart”. It is quite a thought and advise to take and while I actually went with all my heart to this property- I even came out with my heart filled with beautiful experiences and memories which are going to stay with me forever! In short, this was not just any visit or stay in a hotel- it was one where I felt cherished and cared for throughout!

The property I am referring to is a sister hotel to the award winning 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, and is located on Sukhumvit Soi 39 in Bangkok called the 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok. It enjoys a wonderful location as it is situated only a short distance from the upscale and fashionable shopping district of Emquartier/Emporium.

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The architects for the property are Palmer and Turner from Bangkok, with Interiors by P49 Design and Landscape by Wabi Sabi Studio. 34 exquisitely appointed suites opened their doors earlier in April this year. And lucky me, just late May- I got the opportunity of experiencing the magic at their Sukhothai Suites.

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The check-in procedure was extremely smooth and exclusive as my suite check-in happened at the Leonowens Club where we were even treated to a refreshing and colour-packed welcome drink.

In no time, we were guided to our suite and I have to admit it that I had a jaw-dropping moment- the minute I stepped into my suite and what made it even more special was a welcome note and platter filled with goodies.

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As I looked around, I unravelled all about my home for the next two nights! Some of its features included a private butler service, maxi bars with wine cellars, user friendly mood lighting, high ceilings, large walk-in wardrobes and stunning marble en-suite bathrooms with chic circular baths complete with built in TV.

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They even reckon that the sleep experience is of the highest standard and the spacious balcony was the ultimate chill zone, complete with the traditional 137 Pillars House signature rocking chair and an over-sized day-bed for two, with superb view of the Bangkok skyline. The balcony was a true blessing for a person like me who loves to sometimes just disconnect and relax!

​137 Pillars Suites features the 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts signature Leonowens Club, the Jack Bain’s Bar and Cigar Divan, and the exquisite Nimitr specialty restaurant featuring Thai favourites with a molecular twist as well as Western delicacies created by their Group Executive Chef and Culinary Artist, Peter Marx from Sweden. A meal here is a must. We dined here once and not just enjoyed the true beauty of the restaurant but thoroughly loved every bit of our meal as well.  It was quite an experience I must say!

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Their Bangkok Trading Post Restaurant is an all-day dining bistro and deli appealing to local residents and guests, serving Western and Asian favourites as well as freshly baked breads, connoisseur coffee and specialty beverages. I was told that both the restaurants were designed and created by Bangkok’s chic design couple Sophie Beghin and Faun Israrena na Ayudhya of Santhaya Associates.

And this is not it, staying in the suite comes with even more added benefits. One need not use the common pool, instead I had an amazing time swimming in their rooftop infinity edged pool. Also, an exclusive gym facility is available for the suite guests! The 27th floor has chic late check-out and early check-in pods and separate shower facilities in the event that suites are fully booked.

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Trust me when I say that there wouldn’t be a dull moment when staying here. The NITRA spa and wellness center with a separate yoga and meditation sala offers activities including aerial flow yoga, tai chi, reiki and dance. Their Golf Studio seemed rather fun and interesting. Others services include 137 signature dining and picnics by design, a personal shopping service and guide, privately curated and customized tours, tennis and golf practice putting and chipping with personal trainers for both on request, kids’ corner and meeting space.

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In case you want to know how to get here, then here are the details… You could get to the Emquartier/Emporium shopping complex through the BTS Skytrain/MRT underground trains and then you could get a pick-up scheduled in their complimentary London Cab, affectionately known as Louie.

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Also, since the property name reflects residences, here is why- 137 Pillars Residences Bangkok houses 179 private residences offering bespoke facilities for leisure, business and long stay guests including the use of their stylish, customized London Cab.

Lastly, I can’t thank 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok enough for the most spectacular stay ever! The staff here was the most helpful, caring and accommodating… I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast each day and have to mention that one cannot afford to miss trying their waffles for breakfast at Leonowens Club!

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Wishing this property great success always as they deserve every bit of it!

Best,
Sonali

In Love with Tea all over again!

I would be lying if I’d say that I have not been a tea fan. In fact, I have always loved my tea and even more in times of rejoicing as well as during stress times to refresh myself! But my latest obsession without a doubt has been with the teas from Gardner Street which are rather aromatic and tasteful. And trust me I have never enjoyed having my tea as much as I do now. I am big time in love with tea all over again! And what is more is that these teas do come with considerable benefits as well.

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And then I got talking with their Brand Representative, so without any delay- here is all that they had to share…

Q: Tell us a little about each of your signature, luxury and wellness collections?
A: So, sharing some information on them-
Wellness- The blends have been created keeping in mind certain targeted problems that are faced by our consumers in their daily lives.
Luxury- Blends that are to be sipped on in leisure, while conversations with our loved ones flow into the night.
Signature- Our first line of teas which is focused on making one ingredient the hero while our whole leaf green tea and other accompanying ingredients compliment it.

Q: Tell us one rare benefit about these teas which is least known?
A: All our teas are whole leaf teas which means that they have a much higher concentration of EGCG and other antioxidants that provide all the benefits from weight loss to clearing the skin. Also, commercial variety paper teabags are composed of tea dust and fanning which is the lowest grade of tea available and is in the form of tiny tea particles. When tea is broken down into such tiny particles it loses all its nutritional benefits and often results in a brew that tastes stale and is more likely to turn bitter.

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Q: This one is for all those who love to host tea parties, what food goes best with your teas?
A: It actually depends on the tea-
1. Glow- Goes best with light foods like Salads, Sandwiches and unsweetened baked goods like Croissants
2. Moroccan Mint- Apple Pie, Poached Pear Tart, Fruit and Spice-based Desserts
3. Chinese Whispers- Asian food like Dim sums, Teppanyaki Rice and Vegetables, Udon noodles
4. Kashmiri Kahwa- Rich Indian foods like Biryani and Kebabs
5. Flower Power- Pancakes, Crepes, Light Salads and Desserts

Q: What are the key points to keep in mind while preparing your teas?
A: Your final cup of tea is a result of the following factors:
1. Quality of tea leaves used- Gardner Street teas are high quality whole leaf teas
2. Water temperature- For Green teas, make sure the water temperature is just under boiling temperature (85 degrees Celsius). To arrive at this, let the water come to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and then wait for 2 minutes till it cools down a little. Then pour the water over tea and not the other way around. For Black and Herbal teas (Moroccan Mint and South African Rooibos) – use boiling water
3. Brewing time- Green Tea- 2-3 minutes, Blacks and Herbals- 5 minutes
4. Quality of the water used- Make sure that you are using filtered water

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Q: For someone who has stopped by Gardner Street Tea for the first time, what would you recommend is a must try?
A: The must-try would be our best sellers: Glow, Moroccan Mint and Kashmiri Kahwa
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Here is hoping you enjoyed reading this post and wishing you a teariffic weekend ahead!

Love,
Sonali

 

 

 

Desi Desserts with a Difference

 

“Dessert is like a feel-good song and the best ones make you dance.” – chef Edward Lee

Well, the dessert brand I am going to talk about in the blog post today, for sure made me do a happy dance each time I binged on their offerings. If you have been a fan (or even not) of Indian desserts, you would be amazed by the unique and interesting range of items which they let you relish. I quite second the fact which the brand urges that Khoya is the essence of true Indian sweets wherein they use fresh and organic ingredients.
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Before we share more on our first-hand experience trying the desserts by Khoya Mithai, we thought that we would let you learn more from the one who has worked rather hard on this brand.

In Conversation with Siddharth Mathur, Director, Head – Food & Beverage, Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd…

Q: In times when the non-Indian desserts are such a rage and every now and then we get spoilt with even more choices- how did such a concept occur or did you feel that this was the need of the hour?
A: Need of the hour for sure! Indian desserts have such great heritage and a special place in our culture, we wanted to bring that back. I also enjoy non-Indian desserts, but felt that mithai was underrepresented at the higher end of the spectrum, hence Khoya was born.Khoya_27895

Q: Sweets in general are facing this constant challenge of pleasing the increasing number of diet conscious consumers, what is the most appropriate offering from your brand for them?
A: We have a delicious Date & Nut Barfi as well as the Fig Barfi both of which have no added sugar and contain ingredients that are good for you!

Q: Tell us about that one creation of yours which is a must try or the one that has been the hot-seller? Also, talk us through if any new additions are in the pipeline?
A: The Walnut Peda is not only my favourite, but has had resounding appreciation. It is made of roasted khoya filled with a slightly crunchy walnut praline filling. We have just launched 12 flavours but one of the exciting works in progress is our Orange Barfi. It is smooth, well-balanced and has a wonderful marmalade finish.
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Q: Following are few occasions, we want you to recommend one offering of yours against each which would make for the most appropriate giveaway for that occasion…
A: Okay then for,

  • Baby Shower – Walnut Peda
  • Mehendi – Pink Motichoor Ladoo
  • House Warming – Besan Ladoo
  • Christmas – Date & Nut Barfi

And of course, it’s even better is to order a mixed variety box, so that there is something for everyone!

So, now that you have heard from the man himself, I just want to say that I couldn’t stopping binging on their Walnut Peda, I have always been a Peda fan but this is something else! Also, I feel with Khoya, you get the opportunity to gift your favourite Indian desserts but in such a classy fashion. And what’s even better is the twist with which it comes, I mean I had never heard of Walnut Peda or Brown Sugar Besan Ladoo for that matter!

And lastly, even mom is a big fan of theirs now, I asked her quickly and honestly tell me, “Would you consider them for my wedding gifts?” And she replied, “Of course, YES!”
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This is one brand which you must try if you are a true desi-dessert lover!

Much Love,
Sonali

Pictures Courtesy: Khoya Mithai

For the True love for Fashion, Beauty, Wellness & More…

This one is especially dedicated to all our readers who have been wanting to read a beauty blog post- there are some fab tips and recommendations… And what’s more is that we have combined this demand with something for our readers who love to read and enlighten themselves on wellness and food.

The best part about this post is that we reached out to someone who constantly loves to educate herself about what goes into her food as well as the body. And whatever she writes whether it’s on natural products, health food, yoga, wellbeing, eco-travel, home or sustainable fashion- she doesn’t shy away from being honest and only recommends brands she truly trusts and that too post sufficient background check!

Now without any further delay, here is Helipadonheels Team in conversation with Alisha of http://www.beautysprinkles.com

 

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Q: Tell us about your journey on what eventually led to starting- Beauty Sprinkles?A: I had been blessed with very good skin throughout my teenage days but as soon as I hit my 20’s, my skin started to become very sensitive and even intolerant. It took me a couple of years to understand what exactly was going on and how I could tackle the issues without changing my lifestyle overnight. Alongside, since I already had a knack for literature, designing and other creative fields,I decided to share whatever I had learnt over all these years with other people.

Q: Tell us about the best beauty buys of 2016 and why?
A: The three best buys of 2016 would definitely be- 1) Just B Au Naturel’s 100% Natural Deodorant Cream because it is made with organic ingredients and is 100 % free from aluminum. 2) The Skin Pantry’s Aloe Whisper Moisturizer as it is very mild and hydrating and of course is organic and is made with very high quality ingredients. 3) A pair of earrings I got from Purpose Jewellery. Not only because it reflects my personality but also because it is made by survivors of human trafficking. These women are very talented and deserve to be applauded for their courage.

Q: Tell us how in our daily living-a few basic practices which we can alter to ensure a healthier living?
A: I know it may sound very basic but keeping hydrated is very important mainly to flush out all the toxins. My health has gotten a lot better after I scrapped processed food from my diet and started having fresh home cooked food. The third practice would be to have sugar in moderate amounts. You don’t have to completely remove it from your diet but having it every single day is definitely not a very healthy practice.

Q: Tell us about the three best health food buys of 2016 and why?
A: Himalayan Cheese mostly because of the taste and because it is made from real milk from grass fed cows and also as it involves fair trade. The next two things would be ideal buys for the vegans- Nut Khut Peanut Butter from Organza Foods because of the organic ingredients and the delicious taste and SVA Foods Nut Milks because they are freshly made and they even have a big range of flavoured nut milks.

Q: The most underrated health food according to you and why?
A: In my opinion, since I am not a nutritionist-I think the most underrated health food would be Psyllium Husk also known as Isabgol. It not only helps with constipation but also cleanses the colon.

Q: Tell us about that the one food term, we have to know about!
A: Omega 3 Fatty Acids which is an unsaturated fatty acid mostly found in food items like fish, nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds etc. It has numerous health benefits for the heart, skin and hair and is also very beneficial for women with PCOD problems.

Q: According to you- the most environmentally conscious beauty and fashion brands of recent times?
A: Well, conscious beauty brands will definitely hit boom in the coming years but for now I love-The Skin Pantry and Just B Au Naturel. But when it comes to fashion, I am extremely happy to tell you that we have a long list of conscious fashion brands in India. I love Arture, Chirita, Pero, Tribling, Doodlage and Chola … I can just go on and on

Q: Any message for our readers
A: My message would be to appreciate the beautiful life you are blessed with.Taking care of your health because to create a life you want and to give back, the most important thing would be to have energy which is possible only when you are healthy. So, just be happy, be healthy and share the love.

Wow, that was quite a simple yet profound message for you guys, what say?

Here’s to Girl Power: Happy Women’s Day

Seldom do we both get this candid at a personal level and pour our heart out… So, here’s a brief one on being women and being inspired by other women!!!

 

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Sonali says-

“I love being a woman and I love being feminine.” Charlize Theron

Well, I truly and deeply believe and live by this quote… The most beautiful gift has been of being a woman!!! Of course the life of a woman is so colourful for we have more variety of clothes at a store or for that matter- there are endless shades for our lips, nails and eyes and yes, we love our heels as well!!! But not taking away from any of these fancies, I feel I would still love being a woman… For my mother with or without make-up instills great hope in me on days I see none, for my mother can bind us together with or without getting us materialistic stuff and for her hug is the best thing in the world….

I feel a woman does just so much for a lot gets seen and most remains unseen… And they are much stronger than we really feel they are!!!

Today, I would once again like to thank all the women in my life for making my life even more beautiful…

I have to mention my mother who inspires me the most- I don’t say it enough but how much and what all she does in a day and still has a smile on her face is just so amazing! Today, if I get complimented for how I look, how I dress and the like- I feel I have just inherited it all from her… Most importantly, she has demonstrated true character and substance in the harshest of times- that for me has been the biggest learning for life!!! For the value system instilled in me and my siblings- deep down we thank you each day for this!

I love you mom- for being my best friend, support and so much more…

And I have to thank all my friends and sisters… Girls you are the ones who have helped me savour the true joy of friendship…a relationship whose importance I have only learned over time… But today, I value you all just way too much…You all have contributed in helping me become a better individual and it is because of you all that I feel rather wealthy 🙂  Here’s to many more memories and experiences of a lifetime!

Wishing each and every woman – Happy Women’s Day! More power to us today and everyday!

Shagun says-

Women’s Day always makes me introspect on who I am as a woman and also think about women who have inspired me. There are so many of them but today I want to share a little about three of my special ones.
-As cliched as it might sound, my mom to begin with inspires me each day with her positivity and strength; the elegance which she has dealt every single problem in her life with. And when I say problem, there have been plenty. The depth to soak her pain upon realizing the loss of her husband and not shedding a single tear just for the sake of her children is one moment that gives me chills till date and inspires me to hold tight no matter how testing the time may get.

“A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

– I have also been lucky to have two very special friends in life who inspire me to no limits. Sonali on one hand is the most patient, calm and understanding woman I have ever met. She can love someone all her life without expecting anything at all in return. She has the unique potential to see positivity in the darkest of times. She loves a lot but never at the cost of her self respect. I have seen her make the wisest of decisions which most of us fail to at the hands of getting emotional. She inspires me to love, love a lot but also hold your ground for what is right. I don’t have enough words to describe her but she is the kind of woman who can make you feel blessed for her presence. I do!

“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story–I will.” —Amy Schumer

-Another beautiful friend of mine, Varsha has inspired me in ways that I bet she does not even know. From being a younger sister who I always watched out for to getting on the cover of VOGUE, she has not just inspired me but many. Her go-getter attitude is intimidating and shaking. She gets what she wants because she wants it bad. She wants it so bad that she will put all her love, sweat, time and most importantly her faith in it and then sit back and wait till things come around. Until then she won’t quit. She has come out a winner but she is still the younger sister I watched out for. Her laughter is still as loud and hysterical as it always was. That innocent naiveness combined with sheer fierceness is what inspires me.

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” ―Madonna

Saluting all the women out there…

Love,
Shagun & Sonali

 

 

Beauty Spotlight:Organic Harvest

How many of you agree that winter is that extra special time to discover some great products to pamper yourself and your skin? Well, especially as with winters comes dryness and one wants to make sure that they step out looking their most beautiful self with or without make-up…

So, for we believe in sharing on products which impress us, here is a brand called-Organic Harvest which impressed us twice over this winter. And as there is still a nip in the air, it isn’t a bad idea to get your hands on them right away!

Product Pick 1: Organic Harvest Happy Lips Pomegranate Lip Care- The flavour itself was enough to win our hearts as it is one of our favourite fruits but even more impressive was the subtleness and smoothness of the product. For those who value quality products, would be happy to learn that it is sans chemicals. So, for well moisturized and supple lips- this one would be a good buy!  It even comes in other flavours such as Green Apple, Shea Butter and Strawberry.

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Product Pick 2: Organic Harvest Moisturising Lotion – For its pleasant aroma and effective doing on the skin shall definitely make you happy. What’s the best part is that it is very light and doesn’t grease you up annoyingly. Made from raw materials grown without chemicals, herbicides and pesticides; this lotion contains Tamarind Seed Extracts and Essential Oil and vouches to give a 24 hours moisturisation from head to toe. Softness and Smoothness shall be enjoyed with regular application.

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